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Ruane welcomes statement from Commission on Catholic Education

30 March, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, today welcomed the statement from the Commission on Catholic Education which restates their opposition to academic selection at 11 as a means of transferring to post-primary education.

The Minister said: “The Catholic sector is clearly an important grouping within the educational landscape in the north and I welcome their contribution to the debate on the direction of post-primary transfer. Today they have once again stated their opposition to academic selection at age 11 as a means of transferring to post-primary education. I share this position.

“Importantly they also call on their schools to implement the guidance issued by the Department of Education on this matter. If this policy is followed by schools then there is no need for any breakaway entrance tests in any schools. As I have stated many times this route is a legal minefield and should be avoided. Additionally there is no possibility of the Department of Education placing itself in the position of providing a test for transfer to post-primary education without a legal framework.

“There are of course areas within the Catholic sector that have voluntarily moved away from academic selection and which operate very successful all-ability schools. Indeed it is significant that the Church chose such a school to make their announcement this morning.

“The statutory consultation process around the guidance is currently ongoing and after that is completed the Department will then issue the final policy for Transfer 2010. That process is currently well advanced and I look forward to continuing to work with the Catholic sector and others as we formulate the final guidance for issue to schools and parents in the coming weeks.”

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